One of the most romantic elements at our new home is the vine-covered trellis that takes up a third of the courtyard. It charmed me immediately. In the mornings, I would be bathed in a soft green light in the kitchen while my tea brewed...
...this after having pushed back the shutters in our bedroom to sail on a sea of green below. Such a lovely start to my day.
The vine's branches twist under and over each other like happy snakes and the grapes grew downwards with a lush promise...
...until they didn't.
Remi and I watched with consternation as our beautiful bunches turned sour. Within a week, they were shrivelled with disease and began to fall in moldy clumps to the ground. While we scrambled to pick them up, the dogs soon learned the hard way that those left behind were not exactly the tasty treat that they had expected. The sickly sweet odor was attracting a steadily increasing swarm of bees that would dive bomb us throughout the day. Ben is very allergic to bee stings.
Something needed to be done.
The owner had already assured us that as the vine is so old (one friend estimated that it is seventy years of age) that it only produces a decent crop every other year. It was clear that a good pruning job was definitely in order as well.
Remi and I had already helped a friend pick the grapes for his wine and know what back-breaking work it is. But what to do when the branches are far overhead? We headed to our trusty Mr. Bricolage, the hardware store, for the longest cutter that they had. It was an investment but one that would also be useful for trimming the olive tree in the courtyard at the end of autumn.
Remi angled the instrument in-between the leaves as best as he could and then with a tug on the red cord to pull the blades shut...snip! snip!...
...the grapes fell to the ground. My job was sweep them into a pile as best as I could. I chased after the rebel rollers with determination. The fruits of our first vendange - or harvest - left little to be desired!
As the hours passed, more of the sky peeked through our previously shaded canopy.
I kept turning my head upwards, missing both the privacy and the touch of character that the grapes had represented.
Eh, oui. Sometimes what is beautiful needs to be sacrificed for practicality. That is just how it goes.
And besides, there is always next year... :)
Have a wonderful week ahead everyone.